SCORM Dispatch – First year of positive experiences

Posted by Robb Allen, LINGOs

July 19, 2011 marked the one-year production release of SCORM Dispatch.  If you’ve missed discussions about SCORM Dispatch over the past year, a little history regarding the driving force behind SCORM Dispatch might be helpful. This post provides an overview, and you can also read our August 2010 post on the topic.

LINGOs’ many course partners provide our members with an array of courses over whose content we must keep tight control.  We cannot simply provide our member agencies a full SCORM course package to install on an LMS not managed by LINGOs.  Therefore, up until the adoption of SCORM Dispatch, the only way for member agencies that wanted to access any of the courses in the LINGOs course library (one of the many benefits of being a member of LINGOs), was to use the LMS onto which we had installed the courses.

The LMS supplied as part of LINGOs membership meets the online learning needs for most of our members.  However, some of our member agencies — especially those that have matured past a one- or two-person training department — need features that aren’t available out-of-the box with the LINGOs-supplied LMS.  For example, custom on-the-fly reporting; single sign-on between an organization’s intranet and its LMS portal; and integration of human resource systems, talent management systems, and other systems with its LMS.   LINGOs is a small organization, the customization requests from member organizations were simply too numerous and complex for us to handle with a small IT department and would have been burdensome for the partner which provides our LMS.

Requirements Identified

We discussed this challenge with our member agencies at our October 2009 member meeting and sought a solution through which any member organization that needed features other than those available with the LINGOs-provided LMS could choose to install and manage on their end any LMS and still gain access to the courses in the LINGOs course library.  Our solution had to:

  • be LMS agnostic (as long as it is SCORM conformant), and
  • require little-to-no programming by LINGOs and our member agencies, and
  • ensure that LINGOs retained control of course packages and content to satisfy our partner relationships, and
  • ensure that LINGOs could shut off an individual course or entire set of courses for a single member or all members.

There were many other smaller must-haves in terms of reporting and tracking and quite a few nice-to-haves but the four items identified above were the most important to both member agencies and to LINGOs.

In November 2009, LINGOs contacted Rustici Software to discuss our needs and see if they had a solution.  True to their forward-thinking, the folks at Rustici Software were already working on product that sounded like it would meet our needs. They called it SCORM Cloud (we call it SCORM Dispatch).  We began working with them by test-driving the beta version and providing suggestions for improvement along the way.  In May 2010 we rolled out a beta test for our member organizations and in July 2010 released SCORM Dispatch into production.

Using SCORM Dispatch

We described how it works in our August 2010 post on SCORM Dispatch. Briefly, here’s the process a member agency must follow to use it.

Step 1: The agency goes through a testing period to ensure that its LMS and SCORM Dispatch are communicating properly. 

Step 2: Once the member is satisfied that SCORM Dispatch and its LMS are communicating properly, the member agency signs a license agreement to use SCORM Dispatch and identifies the courses it wants to access from the LINGOs course library.

Step 3: LINGOs sets up an account (destination) for the member in our production SCORM Dispatch environment and creates course packages (dispatches) tied to the member account. 

Step 4: The member installs each package on its LMS as it would any SCORM course created internally or purchased from a vendor. 

Step 5: The member agency staff members are informed about, can register and take courses as they would any other.  

LINGOs Member Experiences

SCORM Dispatch is indeed a welcome addition to LINGOs. The production roll-out and troubleshooting process in the first year have been almost error-free and we can’t say enough great things about the folks at Rustici Software.  As always, the LINGOs community provides great value to our members by sharing experience. Read on to learn about how two member agencies are using SCORM Dispatch.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has been using SCORM Dispatch in conjunction with Cornerstone on Demand since October 1, 2010.  Cornerstone on Demand has integrated talent management, performance, succession planning, career support, and learning (LMS) modules.  As CRS staff evaluated Cornerstone on Demand, they knew that they really couldn’t pursue implementation without maintaining access to the LINGOs course library which had been an incredibly valuable and well-utilized resource to support their staff.

SCORM Dispatch was a great option as CRS was ready to expand some of its learning programs.  CRS HR/Workforce Development staff were interested in rolling out curricula, targeting the audiences for certain offerings (by position, location, etc.) and minimizing the “high touch” in some areas (for example, providing automated emails and reminders to support staff in learning programs) to save that time for personalized support.  The team wanted to include levels 1, 2 and 3 evaluations with some CRS courses and programs.  In addition, they sought expanded reporting capabilities. CRS is using the Cornerstone on Demand LMS module to support face-to-face and blended events.  Staff can enroll online for a training or workshop and in some cases access pre-requisite e-learning, reading or assignments; take pre- and post- assessments; and then access an evaluation following the event.  Catholic Relief Services staffers around the world recognize the value in utilizing available resources to support their career development, to promote better knowledge management within the organization, to measure learning and look for evidence of impact in their training and learning programs.

Since the implementation of SCORM Dispatch, CRS’s workforce Development Team is pleased be able to link its competencies to learning options in the Cornerstone on Demand LMS module that staff members access through their online development plan.  While creating a development plan online, staff can review the competencies for their position, and with another click they can review some of the recommended options for supporting achievement of those competencies.  They can register and launch them directly from their development plan.  Additionally, Catholic Relief Services has enabled online CVs and career preferences that allow staff to express their career interests in the near and longer term, and to include details on their skills, experience, languages, etc.  Catholic Relief Services can use this information to ensure that its staffing pipeline is maintained for key positions.  In the future the information will also be used in emergencies or staffing situations for which CRS needs to quickly access skill sets, languages and availability to respond to a disaster or other rapid-onset staffing situation.

EngenderHealth has been using SCORM Dispatch in conjunction with Moodle since late June, 2011.  As part of its overall learning and development approach, EngenderHealth needed to offer a variety of eLearning resources including courses from the LINGOs catalog as well as in-house custom-created courses and training through a one-stop source, EngenderHealth’s Moodle LMS.

SCORM Dispatch provided an easy, seamless way to integrate the LINGOs courses into Moodle.  Together with their in-house courses, the LINGOs courses allow staff to expand their skills, knowledge and expertise in key areas, and ultimately enables EngenderHealth to achieve its mission.

EngenderHealth has received very positive feedback thus far.  They are already planning the next rollout with new course offerings and look forward to continuing to enhance the professional development of their staff.

What’s next?

Since the production release of SCORM Dispatch one year ago, LINGOs member agencies have launched nearly 4,300 course instances using Moodle, PeopleSoft Enterprise Learning Manager, and Cornerstone on Demand LMSes.  As three more member agencies are in the process of testing SCORM Dispatch with their chosen LMS, we expect this number to be much higher in another year.

Member agencies wishing to utilize SCORM Dispatch must be a Level 2 or Enterprise member of LINGOs.

For more information about SCORM Dispatch, please click here or contact Support (at) LINGOs.org.

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The inside scoop on newly available courses

While still feeling the spark and energy from the recent awards and demo-fest of the 2nd eLearning Global Giveback at the Learning Solutions Conference in Orlando, I want to update members on the 50 new courses added to the LINGOs catalog during the first quarter of 2011.

Quite a few of the newly added courses  are from MindLeaders, related to MS Office Upgrades to version 2010 (for Word®, Excel®, PowerPoint®, Outlook®), MS SQL Server, as well as on Flash, Dreamweaver and Photoshop. However, there are many courses that are now shared by fellow members – some from Global Giveback 1 (a year ago) and others from this most recent Global Giveback (GG2).

For our many members working in health …

PSI (Population Services International) has shared with the LINGOs community two of its GG2 Finalist courses: A Primer to the Global Fund (developed by veteran Global Giveback Volunteer Bonnie Taylor/ISDiva) and Pretesting Social Marketing Messages (Created by volunteer Kathy Jeep).

Ipas has made available the reproductive health and rights courses from IpasUniversity. Seven titles from IpasU were added. (IpasU is a self-paced learning site on the internet for reproductive health care providers, primarily in the developing world, with a focus on safe abortion care and postabortion care.)

Just before joining LINGOs in March of this year, Jhpiego shared its ModCAL® (Modified Computer-Assisted Learning) for Training Skills, a computer-based knowledge update learning resource. This course is meant for individuals who are service providers and are available and interested in training. It may also be used for pre-service faculty or clinical preceptors.

 

For those who spend US Government Funds:

ACDI/VOCA’s strategic contribution from the eLearning Global Giveback last year is OMB Circular A-122. It is a very nice tutorial for those responsible for spending USAID funds. Thanks to John Leary at ACDI/VOCA and GG1 volunteers Bonnie Taylor & Lisa Barnstorm for this course!

  

If you work in teams and/or work to strengthen teams:

Our partner QuickLessons teamed  up with ACDI/VOCA in the 2nd Global Giveback on a great course entitled “How to Design a Team Building Workshop.” This finalist course is packed with great tools and job aids. For more info, see the case study they co-wrote.  And for those developing online courses in teams – please keep QuickLessons in mind as a web-based authoring environment that allows multiple users to work together.

Finance courses – Micro and Personal

ACCION was a big participant in the first and second eLearning Global Giveback.  In both years they had the great fortune to work with instructional designer and developer Amanda Warner on self-paced courses and simulations.  Last year’s finalist course “Build, Manage and Improve Credit” is available for you and your staff as well as this year’s winning course/simulation “Client Protection and Financial Education in Microfinance.”

Values and value

Several agencies have developed courses for their staff and volunteers on their organizational values.  ACCION, Habitat for Humanity both had finalist courses in this year’s global giveback related to their organizational values. You can view both and Save the Children’s course on its “Code of Conduct” on the eLearning Global Giveback Showcase portal.

 

You can get an overview of the course topics and partners on the LINGOs site under Available Courses (you may be particularly interested in the growing “partner” entitled “sector-specific courses.”   Member Agency key contacts and LMS administrators have the new password to log in and test-drive courses on the LINGOsCatalogportal (that hyperlink will get you there… my apologies for inaccurate prefix on the recent email about the change in username and pw – those were correct).

As always, LMS Administrators who wish to add a course to their Level 2 or Enterprise portals, or to have a SCORM Package dispatched via your SCORM Dispatch subscription, please email support (at) LINGOs.org with the course code and course title (details available on the Catalog Portal).

 

 

Remember the eLearning Global Giveback! If you have content ready to adapt for eLearning, mLearning or simulation/game learning, and are a member of LINGOs (or a volunteer who wants to develop resources for LINGOs member agencies), consider the eLearning Global Giveback. Any course developed on a volunteer basis for a LINGOs member agency this year (and submitted by December 16, 2011) is eligible for the competition.

For information on the eLearning Global Giveback3, please click here and join the eLearning Global Giveback Group on LinkedIn (this is not the LINGOs group). The “match” between agency and volunteer is happening this year on LinkedIn.

We’ll chat about new courses and the Global Giveback at the LINGOs Quarterly Update for Members on April 14, 2011. Click here for the details.

Posted by Marian Abernathy

LINGOs Partners with OpenSesame

Guest Post by Kelly Meeker, OpenSesame

 

You all are fortunate and engaged members of a global network – LINGOs – that takes advantage of emerging technologies to connect global resources to a global community.  No longer are the far-flung employees of international nongovernmental organizations disconnected from the latest trends in their industry! LINGOs is doing incredible work to  leverage elearning technology to build global capacity.

And OpenSesame is proud to jump in. As a new startup in the elearning sector, we’re thrilled to partner with LINGOs to connect our technology platform and community of talented elearning developers to you, the learning leaders in international organizations.

The OpenSesame eLearning Marketplace Connects the Buyers and Sellers of Elearning Courses

OpenSesame is an online marketplace that makes it as easy to buy elearning courses as it is to download a song off the internet. eLearning sellers from all over the world upload their courses to the OpenSesame marketplace, set prices and bulk discounts and sell their courses to new customers.

 eLearning buyers browse our catalog by course subject, author, length, difficulty and special features and discover new courses and new authors. Before making a purchase, buyers can preview courses, read user reviews and research the seller’s credentials – ensuring that they’re finding the best courses to meet their organization’s learning and development goals.

In addition to connecting buyers and sellers through OpenSesame, we remove one major headache for learning managers like you by connecting any SCORM course to any LMS. Our platform technology removes obstacles to implementation and enables you to focus on the important stuff, like building connections with colleagues, developing new resources and getting to the core business of what you do – solving problems.

Opening a Larger Conversation

We are also facilitating a larger conversation on the evolving elearning sector on our blog and on Twitter. We’re blogging about everything from technical stuff (Creating a Multi SCO Package to Include Support Materials) to investigating new growth areas in the elearning sector (How to Create a Social Learning Environment). Our mission is to unlock elearning by making elearning accessible and easy to implement, while enabling you to choose the most effective and appropriate courses for your needs. 

Partnership with LINGOs

We’re proud to work with LINGOs to bring more learning and development resources to nongovernmental organizations because we believe elearning is the key to unlocking the potential of every learner, no matter how far away they may be.

We are partnering with LINGOs to engage the OpenSesame community in generating more resources for LINGOs members. First, we’re adding a check box to our course upload process to enable OpenSesame sellers to choose to donate use of their courses to LINGOs members. We’ll work with LINGOs to add those courses to the LINGOs LMS and make them available to members directly through a LINGOs area on our website.

OpenSesame will also join LINGOs and the eLearning Guild  as a co-sponsor to the 3rd Annual Global Giveback competition. This competition brings out the best in the elearning community by connecting willing volunteers with some of the organizations making real change happen on the ground, and we’re proud to invite our sellers to participate.

We hope this is just the beginning of a fruitful partnership that will continue to generate more resources for LINGOs members. Thanks for everything you do. We look forward to working with you, and we invite you to connect with us through our blog, Twitter or email.